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Is the Uranium sector about to come back to life?

Nuclear Power is currently a much needed source of global base load power. After the Fukushima disaster in 2011 the industry has had a severe slowdown; however signs of life are emerging as the world moves to a safer nuclear solution. The uranium metal price is accordingly showing some early signs of recovery. The chart below gives a great long term perspective, also showing uranium prices are still near historic lows.

Uranium price and production graph 1947 to 2018

Global nuclear demand and supply forecasts

Currently in more than 12 countries, 71 nuclear reactors are under construction, 165 are planned, and 315 are proposed. China plans to spend $2.4 trillion to expand its nuclear power generation by 6,600%. Demand side growth in new nuclear reactors continue to grow with ‘first fills’ for new reactors requiring three times the uranium up front as annual burn. Japan is restarting idled capacity, and the primary producers are cutting back on production. The graph below shows the large increase in nuclear power plants that are expected to come from China.

Nuclear forecast growth 2017 to 2026

World Nuclear.org quotes the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2017 report which states: “In the Sustainable Development Scenario, low-carbon sources double their share in the energy mix to 40% in 2040, all avenues to improve efficiency are pursued, coal demand goes into an immediate decline and oil consumption peaks soon thereafter. Power generation is all but decarbonised, relying by 2040 on generation from renewables (over 60%), nuclear power (15%) as well as a contribution from carbon capture and storage (6%) – a technology that plays an equally significant role in cutting emissions from the industry sector.” Nuclear is currently about 11% of electricity supply. “The IEA’s ‘New Policies Scenario’ sees installed nuclear capacity growth of over 25% from 2015 (about 404 GWe) to 2040 (about 516 GWe). ”

Global uranium demand

Morning Star expects global uranium demand to rise roughly 40% by 2025. They forecast that low secondary supplies will cause shortfalls and that this will affect price negotiations by 2019. To encourage new supply, expected price should rise to around $65 per pound. Marin Katusa’s research, shown below, forecasts a steady increase in global uranium demand, mostly due to China, India and South Korea.

Katusa Research: Estimated global uranium demand.

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Global uranium supply

In 2017, Cameco and Kazatomprom announced production cuts in an attempt to reverse the past oversupply problem. This is starting to have an impact on the market now.

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MARKET SUMMARY

INDICES

Name Last Change
DOW 25058.10 0.03%
S&P 500 2753.17 0.75%
NASDAQ 7820.20 0.07%
TSX 16435.46 0.65%
TSX-V 712.33 0.00%

Resource Commodities

Name Last Change
Gold 1230.20 0.21%
Silver 15.50 0.06%
Copper 2.75 0.000
Platinum 831.50 0.36%
Oil 70.46 1.42%
Natural Gas 2.76 0.44%
Uranium 23.83 0.88%
Zinc 1.19 0.00%

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